Mike Stevens | Apr 30, 2009

As fond as Jeremy Clarkson may be of describing Richard Hammond as a girly boy, the Hamster’s manicured styling and trendy haircuts - or even James May’s flowing locks - might not be enough to get the Top Gear trio through its latest run-in with the show’s detractors.

A new bill has been introduced in Britain this week, called the Equality Bill, which requires that government organisations seek to demonstrate a greater acceptance of diversity among its ranks.

Because Top Gear is broadcast on the BBC network – a government-owned group – we could soon see a lady type (yes, of the female variety) testing cars and serving up the news on the world’s favourite automotive program.


Oxford sociology and women’s studies tutor Dr Louise Livesey said the show’s production team has a strong “boys’ club” atmosphere, along with fewer female than male guests.

While Dr Livesey described Top Gear as offering only “entrenched, institutional sexism,” Executive Producer Andy Wilman felt – unsurprisingly – otherwise.

If the show is allegedly female-unfriendly, why is almost half the audience female?

Secondly, if we are to have a female presenter just to represent the sexes, then by that logic Loose Women needs a bloke in the line-up pretty sharpish.

I actually believe these sorts of mandates are patronising to women viewers, because they assume that women can't enjoy a show's presenters on merit, but can only appreciate a programme if spoken to by one of their own sex.

If it does come to the team taking on a female presenter, perhaps the boys can entice Vicky Butler-Henderson to defect, or Germany’s gun Sabine Schmidt…

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+